Ethnic Groups of Zambia

Nowadays Zambia has a large urban population and mostly, their tribal differences are not noticeable except, sadly, in politics where tribes are pitted against each other for the benefit of the ruling elite. But going to the rural areas the people are very proud of their tribal identity and continue with many ceremonies and customs of their heritage.

I have always been puzzled about the ‘Tribes of Zambia’. It is stated that there are 72 tribes and, although I have seen lists, they often do not tally with each other. As I pondered this issue, I looked into our history … The more I researched, the less I realised I knew …

So I am starting at the beginning … Well, at around 1000 AD to find out what I can about Bantu origins in Southern Africa.

Having found out all I can on the influences of kingdoms of the Bantu people in Southern Africa, I then looked at where our clans came from.

I have used professional written records as much as possible, so it is taking time as I go through all the texts available to me.  Some texts are in libraries far from Zambia and require lots of money to read, so those, sadly, cannot be used.

This is not an academic thesis.  It is meant to be an easy read for anyone interested in Zambia’s traditional past. I just want to ‘put a face’ to all our ethnic groups and find out where they came from, how they relate to each other and special characteristics of their culture.

You should start at the page on Bantu Kingdoms to find out more about Southern Africa between 1000 AD and 1800s.